Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Students vs. Regents of University of California

The University of California's governing Regents' meeting this Monday was interrupted by protesting students against ever rising tuition and fees. 

The reported that 
Hundreds of students and faculty members chanted and shouted so loudly at a number of UC Board of Regents meetings Monday that the university officials had to move to different rooms to take up their business, including voting to ask the state for millions of dollars in new funding.

UC Berkeley social policy graduate student Megan Wachspress, 27, said the regents are part of the problem.
"We need to find a new way to pick regents," she said at the Mission Bay campus. "So many of them have conflicts of interest. They're on the boards of corporations. They belong to groups that oppose tax increases, and they keep raising the pay for top administrators."

Lawmakers have cut hundreds of millions of dollars from UC's state allocation over the past few years, including $650 million this year alone. Another $100 million could be cut this winter if state revenues fall short as expected.
At the same time, the regents have raised tuition and fees annually since 2006, when they totaled $8,323. Tuition and fees this year amount to $13,218.

UC President Mark Yudof said afterward in San Francisco that he sympathized with the protesters' plight.

"I wish they wouldn't interrupt a public meeting," he said, but added "the students have taken it on the chin for the past decade ... I definitely understand the students' position."

However, he and several regents said - reiterating what they have said before - students should direct their efforts to restore funding to higher education at state leadership in Sacramento rather than at UC's administrators.

It is understandable that UC's administrators were just as frustrated and upset as the student when the State has failed them repeatedly.

However, UC Regent's plea for the students to protest at the door step of the state legislators instead of their schools sounded rather like shrugging their collective shoulders.

The students live and study around their campuses and they should have the right to speak out and protest in their home turf.  It was the Regents who imposed the fee and tuition hikes, and they have the right to protest against the Regents.

In turn, if the Regents feel the urgency and the pain the students are suffering from, they ought to camping out in Sacramento themselves, and demand tax increase from the super rich, the rich and even the middle class to support our once great educational systems in California.  Our Regents ought to occupy Sacramento themselves.

Perhaps, Wachspress hit the nail on the head.  If our Regents could or would not fight to solve the problems, then they are part of the problems.  Then they ought to be replaced.

November 11, 2011 - Protest at Cal _ 7964

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